Yangyel Lhaden

Tsirang — The quiet town of Damphu was buzzing with many incoming vehicles and voters from different parts of the country arriving in Tsirang for today’s polling day. 

Voters waited with their luggage, seated around the taxi parking area, waiting for their relatives to pick them up and take them to their villages.

Sudh Man, 65, came to Tsirang yesterday from Punakha with his wife and nephew. He has been waiting for more than two hours for the vehicle from his village, Rangthangling, to arrive and pick them up. 

Sudh Man took a taxi at 8:00 am and paid Nu 600 as taxi fare per passenger. “It is important to vote, and I came to support the party we want to win,” Sudh Man said.

Another voter, Bir Bahadur Tamang, started his journey to Tsirang the day before yesterday from Phuntsholing. He took leave from the hotel where he works in Phuntsholing. He is also a voter from Rangthangling gewog. 

“I am a private employee and not eligible for a postal ballot, but it is my responsibility to vote,” Bir Bahadur Tamang said. “The main reason I came to my village to vote is because I am worried, and even a single vote can make a difference.”

Khena Maya, 35, traveled with her four-year-old son on the 5:00 am bus from Jigmecholing, Gelephu, to vote in Tsirang. “It is difficult to travel with a child,” Khena Maya said. “However, it is important to vote since we are electing a government and it is our responsibility to vote.”

The lunch point at Rilangthang, Tsirang,  was busy yesterday with restaurants overwhelmed with travellers  looking for food and snacks.  There were numerous buses, taxis and private cars going to Dagana, Tsirang and Sarpang. “We never saw this many customers coming,” said a waitress in one of the restaurants in Rilangthang. Her restaurant was crowded with many waiting outside to be catered to. 

A taxi driver, Kado, traveled from Wangdue to Gelephu yesterday ferrying voters. He was carrying three passengers, all voters, two for Tsirang and one for Gelephu, while he was also going to Gelephu to vote. 

He charged Nu 600 for passengers going to Tsirang and Nu 1,000 for Gelephu. “The rate is Nu 1,200 for Gelephu, but since I am also going to Gelephu to vote, I gave them a little discount.”

Kado said that the taxi business had been good in the past few days with voters traveling to their polling stations. The day before yesterday, Kado got passengers to Gelephu from Thimphu, all of whom were voters.